Brisbane Strikers Captain Stoic About Challenging FFA Cup Draw

May 08, 2019 by

After their dramatic extra-time win over Lions FC in the previous round, Brisbane Strikers captain Jake McLean is ready for the upcoming challenges of a difficult qualifying path to the FFA Cup national stages.

Following a live draw by Football Queensland on Wednesday, Brisbane Strikers discovered their pathway to the Round of 32 of the national knock-out competition – beginning with a penultimate qualifying tie against fellow National Premier Leagues club Eastern Suburbs FC.

The winner of that tie will then face an away trip to the winner of the Peninsula Power and Gold Coast Knights Round 6 clash.

McLean said with Brisbane Strikers beginning to right the ship in the National Premier Leagues after an inconsistent start to the year, the FFA Cup is serving as a driving force for both he and his teammates as they look to return to the national stages for the first time since 2016.

“There was a big shift before we played Lions in the last round. We know we cannot win the Premiership in the NPL this year so we really want to make a success of it in the FFA Cup.”

The classy midfielder added, “The energy is always that bit different in the FFA Cup. You know that you have 90 or 120 minutes to get the result or else you are out.”

“The possibility of being eliminated really drives the players and it makes for better, more exciting games and you sometimes find that little bit extra as a player to get the win.”

McLean went on to cite a similar situation during his stint with Oakleigh Cannons in the National Premier Leagues Victoria in 2014 – one of three seasons he has appeared in the competition’s national rounds.

“When I played in Melbourne, we didn’t make the finals of the NPL that year, but we did make the Quarter Finals of the FFA Cup – and it made that season a success.”

“So knowing we have something to play for like that can really be a motivating factor going into the next couple of games for me and the boys.”

Brisbane Strikers last lined up against Eastern Suburbs FC in March in the National Premier Leagues – succumbing 3-0 at Heath Park in the midst of an uncharacteristic form lull.

However, McLean said that result provides zero insight into what awaits both sides in the hotbed of an FFA Cup tie.

“When we last played them we didn’t have a full team. I was out, Matty Richardson was injured and Michael McGowan was on the bench with injury as well.”

“We are definitely playing better now than we were then and I expect the boys will be extra motivated to reverse that last result against them as well.”

“But, that being said, it’s going to be a tough game again – all FFA Cup games are a battle – and we will certainly be prepared for that.”

McLean added that a possible Round 7 tie against Peninsula Power and Gold Coast Knights – with both potential opponents currently vying for silverware in the National Premier Leagues Queensland – will also be a test worthy of the esteem the FFA Cup continues to command nationwide.

“If we can get through to the national rounds, with the road we have to take, it will be the hardest qualifying path of any club in Queensland this year.”

“But we are not looking at the last round yet. We are focused on the league games in the next couple of weeks and then Easts in the FFA Cup and we will only switch focus after that.”

Brisbane Strikers’ next game is against bottom-of-the-table Western Pride in the National Premier Leagues this weekend.

The date and time of the Round 6 tie against Eastern Suburbs are yet to be confirmed.

 

Image supplied by Lions FC / Aqua PD

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